Rights of Way - Fences

If someone puts a barbed wire fence or exposed barbed wire across a public right of way without providing an way of crossing, they have committed an offence. Please report it to us using the contact details on this page.

We’ll ask the owner of the fence to remove it immediately or, if the fence is necessary for farming, to provide a safe way to cross it on the line of the path. (This will mean applying for permission to put up a stile or gate.) If the owner doesn’t remove the fence, we’ll remove the barbed wire where it affects the path. If the owner continues to put up fences, we may prosecute them. 

A barbed wire fence that runs alongside a public right of way may be a danger or a nuisance to the public. In these cases, we’ll ask the owner to make the fence safe. If they refuse or fail to do so, we’ll serve legal notice requiring the owner to remove the source of danger within a specified time. 

If someone puts an electric fence across a public right of way without providing a safe way of crossing, they have committed an offence. Please report it to us using the contact details on this page.

We’ll ask the owner of the electric fence to remove it immediately or, if it is necessary for agriculture, to provide safe way to cross it on the line of the path. (This will mean applying for permission to put up a stile or gate.) If the owner refuses to do either of these things, we’ll remove the electric fence where it affects the path. If they keep putting up fences, we may prosecute them.

An electric fence running alongside a public path may be a danger to members of the public.

In these cases, we’ll ask the owner to make the fence safe for path users. If the owner refuses or fails to do so, we’ll serve a legal notice requiring the owner to remove the source of danger within a specified time. If they don’t comply with the notice, we will remove the fence and recover the costs from the fence owner.

It’s an offence to stretch a rope or similar object across a public right of way. In some circumstances, we will allow a farmer to put up a temporary rope or wire on a public footpath (but no other class of right of way) to restrain farm animals. This can only be done if the rope or wire is clearly visible and can be easily and safely removed and replaced by path users.

We’ll ask that any unauthorised rope be permanently removed. If this is not done, we’ll remove it and may consider prosecution.

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